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1.15.2017

Reality is Real

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Reality is a real thing. That sounds like a common sense tautology, but in this age of fabricated socio-political non-realities serving as reality for many people, I'm not so sure this is a majority common sense view any more.

There is an absolute reality, even if human senses and brains are "imperfect" measuring devices for figuring out what it is. A perfect reality does not require a perfect human to be observed and measured, setting aside for a moment quantum physic's assertion that it might. This is because humans have SCIENCE, an empirical methodology based on MATH that renders inconsequential imperfect humans (including imperfect scientists). Science measures reality through a combination of hypothesis testing and non-human measuring and analyzing devices that do a much better job than humans do of dissecting reality.

The first scientists were actually devout religious people who were using empirical observation to figure out "God's plan" for the universe and life on Earth. I can't encourage people enough to read Ed Dolnick's masterful non-fiction book, "A Clockwork Universe." It's a fantastic history of the birth of science in the 17th century Enlightenment period.

Today we seem to be moving away from empirical science as religious zealots try to convince us that science is "the Devil's work" when it contradicts fundamentalist religious doctrine. I don't believe in God, but I certainly believe there is order to the universe governed by the Laws of Nature. Life on Earth, for example, is all based on the molecular machinery of genetics, a parsimonious mechanism that you'd expect a super smart creator deity to design.

The beauty of a universal reality is that it doesn't matter what people believe, not even scientists. It won't go away if you don't believe in it. It won't be bent to anyone's whimsy, not even Donald Trump's. Ignoring it is perilous, because it might unexpectedly punch you in the nutsack.

12.30.2016

Why is Science More Awesome Than God?

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I get asked this question a lot in my travels.*

There's a pretty simple answer. But if you accept this answer, God will hate you, make your life miserable, and refuse you entry to Heaven (but not before publicly ridiculing you and making you march naked in shackles through the town square while angels curse and spit on you). That is, if you believe in a literal Biblical God.

Science is awesome because it does a great job of explaining the observable universe (keyword observable), much better than mythology, including the Bible. It's also parsimonious (requires very little information to explain quite a lot of observation) and self correcting (adapts to new information), unlike the wordy, unchanging Bible. Science also isn't moody, angry, or insecure if you don't believe in it or don't like what it says. Science doesn't care if you don't believe in it, although refusing to do so does have some very real dangers (in this regard, it is not unlike the Biblical God, except that the dangers of ignoring science can hurt you in this life, while you are still alive, not in the unobservable afterlife).

The first "scientists" in the Enlightement Age of the 17th century were actually devoutly religious and driven to uncover "God's Plan" for the universe via empirical, and sometimes unorthodox, means. Many people are not aware of this and modern religious folks seem to have abandoned science and empricism altogether (though, as stated earlier, science still wins whether you believe it or not). These guys went to church "religiously" and stuff. For a good history of this, check out the book "A Clockwork Universe," by Ed Dolnick. It's a fantastic read about the religious beginnings of science and you will learn something whether you are religious or not.

The Theory of Evolution is science's parsimonious way of explaining everything we observe about life on Earth and to date ALL EXISTING EVIDENCE supports it. Yes, there are still missing pieces, but missing evidence doesn't necessarily contradict evolution and we can only use existing evidence for science. This is another way science trumps God...there's plenty of observable evidence that science is "true."

I have always felt evolution to be far more empowering than mythology, both individually and collectively. If you accept evolution's truth, you are here on Earth because your ancestors (actually, your genes) survived 3.6 billion years on this planet to produce YOU.

Let me put that another way. The average human lifespan is about 72 years, give or take. So there have been 50 million human lifespans since the dawn of life on Earth. That's 50,000,000 chances to DIE and your ancestors dodged them all. How effing cool is that?

It kind of makes the 83 human lifespans since God created everything 6,000 years ago (according to the literal Biblical creation story) seem like weak sauce by comparison.

The Bible talks about the patriarchal line of Jesus Christ from his father Joseph that includes tons of Jewish kings back through history (notwithstanding the irony that Jesus' mother Mary supposedly had a virgin birth, which would totally nullify the royal bloodline of Joseph...too bad they didn't understand the science of genetics way back then!). But evolution says there is a direct line of descent from you all the way back to the dawn of life in Earth's primordial soup. Way cooler than a few generations of kosher kings, don't you agree?

Do you ever wonder about the close calls during all that evolutionary time that could have terminated your so-called "bloodline (a misnomer because many of your distant ancestors did not have blood, but rather lymph)?" I suppose you don't if you reject evolution. But again, science is true even if you reject it.

So that's why science is awesomer than God. Any questions?

*Actually, I never get asked this, for obvious reasons, but I'd like to...and I don't travel nearly as much as I should.